A freelance reporter from San Francisco said he was detained by law enforcement for six hours after his home was raided and he refused to hand over the name of the source for a recently-published story.
“Bryan Carmody, a freelance reporter in San Francisco, awoke Friday to the sounds of someone trying to break into his house,” according to a Washington Post report.
He allowed 10 San Francisco Police Department officers into his home, who searched through all of his property. Two Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officials were also present. The gaggle of law enforcement officers, whom Carmody said treated him “like I was some kind of drug dealer” demanded that he turn over a source from a recently-published story which included a confidential report about the death of a local public defender.
He declined to offer up his source, as he had done two weeks earlier when police dropped by to question him. The reporter said he was handcuffed and taken into police custody for six hours – a fact verified by a certificate of release from the police department.
“I’m smart enough not to talk to federal agents, ever,’ Carmody told The Post. “I just kept saying ‘lawyer, lawyer, lawyer.'”
A First Amendment attorney who spoke with The Post said the proper course of action would have been to subpoena the reporter, not raid his house and detain him.
“Carmody says his ability to work is now crippled by the seizure of his electronics,” according to the report. “A search warrant and affidavit he distributed noted that police took at least at least four tablets, seven computers, 10 hard drives, a dozen phones, two cameras, reporters’ notebooks and a thumb drive from his home.”
Carmody’s detention comes on the heels of the arrest of Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, who made a career of exposing state secrets. He was thrown out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he had a safe haven for nearly seven years. He was sentenced to 50 weeks in prison for absconding bail in the U.K.
This week, Sweden reopened a rape investigation into Assange after it was suspended in 2017.
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